South Carolina : Safety by CityUnited States - safety as a country
South Carolina is a beautiful state with many attractions.
There are beaches, mountains, wildlife preserves, and more.
The cities in South Carolina vary dramatically depending on where you’re traveling to.
The capital of Columbia has an average crime rating compared to other cities in the United States, but within South Carolina, it’s increased substantially since last year.
Travelers should be mindful that even if their destination has a low crime rating, surrounding areas may not share the same safety measures as the city they are exploring during their vacation.
Oconee County had very few crimes reported throughout 2018 which makes it both one of the safest places to travel in South Carolina, as well as throughout most parts of America.
Travelers looking for fun activities shouldn’t have to worry about violent crime, but they may have to watch out for scams or property theft.
In 2016, Charleston was ranked one of the top ten most friendly cities for tourists by Conde Nast Traveler.
Charleston also made the list of TripAdvisor’s top 10 destinations to celebrate New Year’s Eve.
Travelers looking for a weekend getaway should consider heading just outside of Charleston to spend time in the popular town of Folly Beach.
For college students looking for a spring break destination, consider staying at Pawley’s Island, Horry County, or Myrtle Beach.
Warnings & Dangers in South Carolina
OVERALL RISK : MEDIUM
The crime rate went up 4% in 2021 but property crime went down slightly. Unfortunately, the murder rate went up 22%. You have a 1 in 185 chance of becoming a crime victim in the state. Theft is a major concern throughout many parts of the state, so travelers should be especially vigilant while exploring the many attractions throughout South Carolina.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Transportation throughout South Carolina is usually safe, but drivers should always be aware of their surroundings. Local taxis may not readily be available outside city downtown areas, so plan as needed.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Pickpockets are not a major issue in South Carolina, but travelers should always remain aware of their surroundings when in crowded areas.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : HIGH
There is a very high risk of natural disasters throughout South Carolina. Try to avoid going during hurricane season.
MUGGING RISK : MEDIUM
Mugging and other violent crime is a major concern throughout South Carolina, but it tends to be more prominent in smaller towns. If you are approached by an assailant, it is best to hand over whatever they seem to be after. Travelers should beware of property theft throughout the state. Keeping valuables at home or keeping them out of plain sight is the best way to combat this while traveling around South Carolina.
TERRORISM RISK : MEDIUM
There is no history of foreign terrorism in South Carolina. However, Charleston still has had some domestic incidents in recent years, so remain vigilant.
SCAMS RISK : MEDIUM
Visitors to South Carolina may have to worry about vacation rental scams. This can include being overcharged for the property, not given the property at all, or even being tricked into paying for items that were already paid.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
The safety of women is generally taken very seriously in South Carolina. Most cities have plans to aid women who are victims of violence while traveling throughout the state. However, travelers should always remain aware of their surroundings while exploring alone.
TAP WATER RISK : HIGH
The tap water throughout South Carolina is not trustworthy. Travelers should stick to bottled water or use a filter if necessary.
Safest Places to Visit in South Carolina
Southeastern South Carolina is home to Myrtle Beach, which is one of the safest beach destinations in all of America.
According to Safewise, there were only 4 crimes per 1,000 people reported in Myrtle Beach while there were 144 crimes per 1,000 people reported for other parts of South Carolina.
The town of Woodruff is a small, affluent community in upstate South Carolina with a population of only 2,000 people.
In 2010, there was only one reported crime per 1,000 people.
Woodruff has been named as one of America’s Top 100 Best Places to Live.
The town of Fort Mill is located in the Charlotte metropolitan area and has a population of over 23,000 people.
The low crime rate makes it one of the safest places to visit in South Carolina.
The city of Ladson is located just southwest of Charleston with a lower than average number of crimes reported.
Ladson is also home to the Angel Oak Tree, which is one of the oldest living things east of the Mississippi River.
The city of Cayce is considered one of the best cities for transportation because it’s near major roads that are used by many travelers.
It also has a low crime rate with only 4 crimes reported per 1,000 people.
North Charleston has a population of about 100,000 and is located just north of Charleston.
It also has a very low crime rate with only 51 crimes reported per every 1,000 residents and many travelers go to this city for business or pleasure.
The city of Greenville has a median home value of $146,000 and experienced only 330 crimes reported in 2015 with a population of 61,000 people.
The lower crime rate makes it one of the safest cities to visit in South Carolina.
Places to Avoid in South Carolina
The city of Beaufort experiences a high number of crimes annually, with over 58 crimes reported per every 1,000 residents.
Most of the homicides and violent crimes committed in the area occur on plantations during the night.
Travelers should avoid Beaufort as it is one of the least safe places to visit in South Carolina.
The city of Greenwood experiences one of the highest numbers of reported crimes in South Carolina, with over 110 crimes reported out of every 1,000 residents annually.
Although crime rates are low for property crimes like theft and burglary, violent crimes are more prominent in this area.
Marion County has experienced a high number of crimes reported annually.
There were over 58,000 crimes reported in the county with a population of 21,000 people.
Travelers should avoid visiting Marion County as it is one of the least safe places to visit in South Carolina.
Safety Tips for Traveling to South Carolina
- Call your bank and credit card companies. Call your financial institutions to let them know you’re traveling. If this information is available, it will help prevent theft as your accounts can be flagged for suspicious charges within a specific timeframe.
- Use ATMs at banks. ATMs located at banks are less likely to be tampered with because they require bank personnel intervention to access the machine and alter its settings (e.g., PIN). Choose ATMs that appear well-maintained and always opt for those located in secure locations such as lobbies or hallways leading toward the interior of the building.
- Keep your purse/bag handy. Whether you’re walking around town or taking a city bus, always have your purse/bag nearby. If you are seated on a bus or train, place your bag in your lap to prevent it from being snatched by thieves.
- Keep your car doors locked and windows up. When you arrive at your destination, make sure all car doors are locked before getting out of the vehicle. Don’t leave anything of value in plain sight in the passenger compartment, even in a locked car. This includes purses or wallets left in an unlocked glove box or center console, as well as loose change left beneath the seat cushions. A thief could easily access this information using an unlocked door window when they break into your locked car.
- Lock Your Hotel Room Door. Make it a habit to secure your hotel room door behind you when entering the room. Never leave your room unlocked during your stay as anyone could easily access personal information such as credit card numbers, PINs, and other valuables kept under your pillow or mattress.
- Ignore (or limit yourself) to “good samaritan” encounters. During your trip, always be aware of people who appear suspicious, hold out their hand for money or beg for food/water. Most scams are committed by groups of individuals working together, with one usually distracting the victim while another picks his/her pockets or steals his/her belongings.
- Avoid hurricane season. From June 1 to November 30, the state of South Carolina is under a hurricane watch/warning period. During this time, it’s best to avoid traveling to the coast. If you do plan on visiting during this season, have an emergency plan in place. You’ll also want to steer clear of areas that are prone to flooding or landslides.
- Be aware of scams involving vacation rentals. If you’re looking for safe alternatives to hotels, consider vacation rentals instead. Before booking with an unknown traveler via sites like Craigslist or Airbnb, always request photo identification and confirm their phone number in case there are any issues during your stay. Once everything checks over the phone/email, meet in person and pay with a credit card or gift card (that hasn’t been loaded with funds) if possible.
- Watch your drinks at clubs/bars. Be aware of your surroundings when you’re out having fun. Don’t leave drinks unattended, and only accept open containers from bar staff or friends you trust. You can also make yourself less vulnerable by sticking to bottled beers instead of pints/glasses that need to be poured. Lastly, never accept drinks from strangers; this is how people get drugged before being mugged or sexually assaulted (i.e., roofies).
- Be careful online & on social media. If you’re engaging with friends on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter, avoid posting personal information about your plans while traveling such as flight numbers/times/addresses.
So... How Safe Is South Carolina Really?
In 2021 property crime went down while violent crime went up.
It has the worst rate of violent crime in the South Atlantic region.
A car break-in occurs every 26 seconds in South Carolina, with 1/4th happening to visitors’ cars at attractions or overnight accommodations.
This includes parking garages that have an attendant on duty 24 hours a day, being parked at your home or business address, etc.
Make sure to use valet service when available for these situations – voiding any risk of theft occurring due to locking yourself out of your vehicle after handing over the keys to a stranger.
If you remain vigilant and plan, you can enjoy a beautiful trip to South Carolina.
Be aware of the coastline during hurricane season, stay safe by locking your hotel room door and using valet service, and only accept drinks from people you trust.
Don’t forget that South Carolina is the sixth most dangerous state in the U.S., even for residents.
How Does South Carolina Compare?
- Visas - If you are a non-US citizen you are required to get a tourist visa to visit the United States. The length of your Visa will depend on what country you are from. You must apply at the US Consulate in your country.
- Currency - The United States uses the u.s. dollar as currency. You can pay by cash, credit card, or debit card. Electronic payments such as Google pay and Apple pay are also more and more common at retailers in the country.
- Weather - Overall, the weather in South Carolina is pretty mild to hot. There are no significant fluctuations in temperature throughout the year.
- Airports - Charleston International Airport
- Travel Insurance - It is a good idea to have some type of travel insurance when you visit South Carolina. General Health travel insurance is important in case you get sick.
South Carolina Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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